How Many Righteous Men Does it Take to Save a City?
When Abraham learnt that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah where his nephew Lot was living (Genesis 18:20-21), he petitioned to God.
And he (Abraham) said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once, what if ten (righteous men) shall be found there? And He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the Lord went his way ..... Genesis 18:32-33
In this conversation, we learnt that God will not destroy a city if there are ten righteous men there. But how about nine, five, or even one? The Lord went His way and did not answer. However, I personally believe that God will not destroy a city even if there is only ONE righteous person there. In fact, the Lord said this to Jeremiah:
If you can find a single person, anyone who acts justly, anyone who seeks the truth, then I will forgive the city. Jeremiah 5:1
What a Righteous Man Can Do?
There are many examples in the Bible where God spared a whole city, a nation, or even the whole world because of just ONE righteous person.
God sent the Flood in AM 1656 since creation according to Jewish chronology (AM stands for anno mundi), which is the same year Methuselah died. And who is Methuselah? From Genesis 5, we know that Methuselah is the 8th generation from Adam. We also know that until Noah, descendants from Seth's line are mostly righteous men.
Adam was created on the sixth day of the first year and died in AM 930
Seth was born in 130, died in AM 937
Enosh was born in 235, died in AM 1140
Cainan was born in 325, died in AM 1235
Mahalel was born in 395, died in AM 1290
Jared was born in 460, died in AM 1355
Enoch was born in 622 and was no more in AM 987
Methuselah was born in 687, died in AM 1656
Why did God send the Flood in AM 1656 and not earlier? At that time, sons of God were taking daughters of men as wives and there was already much wickedness and corruption in the world (Genesis 6:1-2) ! I believe the reason is because Methuselah is a righteous man, and God let him complete his full life before He sent His judgement to the world.
Of course this is just my own speculation, and I welcome any ideas or comments from our readers. Anyway, let us continue to look at other examples in the Bible.
Joseph, the son of Jacob is a righteous man. Even though he was sold to Egypt by his jealous brothers, he was not corrupted by the Egyptian culture, and he kept his righteousness to God. During that time, he whole world went through a famine, but Egypt was not only spared, but became prosperous because of one righteous man, Joseph.
And the famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians; for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was so severe in all the lands. Genesis 41:56-57
Lot, the nephew of Abraham was also called a righteous man according to the Bible. During Lot's stay in Sodom and Gomorrah, not only were these two cities not destroyed because of their wickedness, but they were even rescued by Abraham when their enemies attacked them (Genesis 14:8-16)! However, since Sodom and Gomorrah did not turn away from their sins, they were eventually destroyed by the Lord after Lot had been taken out by the angels.
But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 2 Peter: 2:7-8
You Can Make a Difference!
From the above examples, we can see that God highly values the life of each and every righteous person on earth! In fact, it is even written in the Bible,
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Therefore, one does not necessarily have to be a fighter or a warrior to save a city or a nation! Just by keeping our faith and persisting in righteousness, we can obtain mercy and grace from the Lord for the land where we belong.